832 confirmed dead in Indonesia tsunami and earthquake – Search for survivors continues
Indonesia’s disaster agency has said the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated part of the island of Sulawesi has climbed to 832.
The tsunami was triggered after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake, causing widespread destruction into the evening on Friday.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman of the national disaster mitigation agency, told a news conference on Sunday that 821 of those killed were in the city of Palu. He said another 11 people were killed in the town of Donggala.
He said access to Donggala, as well as the towns of Sigi and Boutong, is still limited and there are no comprehensive reports from those areas.
‘The death is believed to be still increasing since many bodies were still under the wreckage while many have not able to be reached,’ Nugroho said.
Fears are mounting for the fishing town of Donggala, which was closer to the epicenter of the quake, but which rescuers have not been able to reach.
The town of Mamuju was also severely affected but currently impossible to access due to damaged roads and disrupted telecommunications.
Meanwhile, criticisms have been leveled at the country’s geophysics agency for lifting the tsunami warning 34 minutes after it was first issued, which may have led to confusion and exacerbated the death toll.
Many of those killed in Palu were swept away by giant waves more than 10ft high as they played on the beach in the scenic tourist town.